Death row inmate dies

HARARE - Rosemary Margaret Khumalo, a female death row inmate, died of natural causes on Tuesday at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.

Khumalo, 59, was on death row for the past 15 years.

Chief superintendent Elizabeth Banda, the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services spokesperson, confirmed the death to the Daily News yesterday.

“She died of natural causes,” Banda said. “She had a history of high blood pressure and we all know that this is a silent killer. However, her body was sent for post-mortem to determine the exact cause of death.”

Khumalo was sentenced to death after committing murder. She was incarcerated at Chikurubi Prison in 1999, where she was held, awaiting execution.

Banda said Khumalo would be buried at Chikurubi Prison graveyard like all the other condemned prisoners.

The death of Khumalo leaves only one woman on death row, Shylet Sibanda. She was sentenced to death after committing murder in 2010. She has been on death row since then.

Chiedza Simbo, director with the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA), which has been campaigning to spare the women’s hanging,  said Khumalo died defending her right to life. 

The organisation represented Khumalo and Sibanda last year in a bid to remove them from death row in line with the new Constitution which states that women cannot be executed.

“It is with immense sadness that ZWLA celebrates the role Rosemary Margaret Khumalo played in defending the rights of women embodied in the new Constitution of Zimbabwe,” Simbo said.

She said Khumalo believed that the immediate consequence was that the sentence of death imposed on  her by the trial court and upheld by the Supreme Court could no longer be lawfully carried out.

She pleaded with the Constitutional Court to ensure that the minister of Justice, the Prosecutor General and the Attorney General would ensure that she is brought before a competent court which would set aside the sentence of death imposed on her and substitute it with a new sentence, but she died still trying.

Simbo urged the government to ensure that all laws imposing a death sentence on women were amended and aligned with the provisions of the new Constitution.

Rita Nyamupinga, director of the Female Prisoners Support Trust (Femprist) said it was unfair to keep Khumalo on death row for 15 years without granting her clemency or her judgment of death.

“Fifteen years were too much for her, they took a toll on her health,” Nyamupinga said.

“She suffered from High Blood Pressure and ulcers. We understand that there was no hangman for some time but her case needed to be reviewed from time to time to make sure that she could not suffer.”

    Comments (14)

    All said and done , what about the victim and the surviving family yaaka uraya iye Khumalo wamava kuita gamba. Idyai mari yema NGO makanyarara pliz

    nyati mhenyu - 17 July 2014

    Nyati Mhenyu, hapana munhu anobvumirwa kutora upenyu hwemumwe kunze kwashe. Death sentence ndeyeypasi iya..ngaibviswe

    tugu - 17 July 2014

    Kare vakuru vaiti munhu akauraya munhu iye aiurawa. Munhun akaba aidimurwa ruoko rwacho. Munhu akanyenga mukadzi wemunhu aitushurwa maziso. Mutongo unopihwa munhu maererano nemhaka yake. Sei muchiti mukabata mbavha muchiti ngauraiwe muchirova pasina mapurisa. Zvekuti mapurisa akanonoka kusvika anoona munhu afa. Saka ndinoti ngairege kukanganwa avo vanenge vashaikirwa nevavo kuti vanorwadziwa .

    WATYOKA T S - 17 July 2014

    It is sadening that a hardcore woman criminal who took the life of another innocent and defenseless human being is now being labelled a hero. Are we missing something hero. What about the victim that she killed's children feeling? so they come and join ZWLA in celebrating the life of a hero (criminal). Zimbabweans we seem to contradict ourselves at every turn. Does ZWLA has some conscience? Kwanai imi!

    VISION 2020 - 17 July 2014

    its unfortunate that we, humans think that all those who kill are murderers. some people kill by my mistake and in the heat of the moment. this does not mean that l condone murder, but please have mercy on all human life

    patrick kamupazanga - 18 July 2014

    Tine Mishonga yechivanhu inowedzera nguva pabonde kuti irebe, inokudza nhengo dzana baba mumazuva 7, inosimbisa musana, inopedza zvirwere zvepabonde, inorapa asima, zvirwere zveshuga uye newekuuchika unoita kuti pamuviri pabate. fonai pa 0737286007.All herbs does not have side effects and comes from Malawi. Free deliveries in Harare and outside we can send through swift

    CHIREMBA - 18 July 2014

    No one has a right to take away the life of another human being, only The Almighty. May both their souls rest in peace

    Godfrey Ndawana - 18 July 2014


    GUNGUVO - 18 July 2014

    death sentence must be removed.hapana zvekuti vakadzi chete munhu wese ane right yehupenyu.kumwe kutonga siirayi mwari ndivo muridzi imprisonment ndipo panofanira kugumira isu vanhu.sorry she died but she is not a hero [maybe satanic].this is a christian community please.

    ish - 22 July 2014

    The sad thing about death row is you will never know when you will be executed and sometimes you can live as much as 15 waiting to die.Now that is a torture.Life imprisonment is more human punishment than killing.This is just a report not that she is a hero and she got buried in a condemned grave.Thats sad to both the murderer and the victim.

    Jambanja - 23 July 2014

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